Psaki calls for censorship of Instagram, Facebook

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Psaki calls for censorship of Instagram, Facebook

White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to call for censorship of social media Friday while discussing a recent report that highlighted the negative effects Instagram and Facebook can have on young teens. 

During an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Psaki was asked if there is any plan in the future to address issues regarding negative mental health effects with Big Tech companies like Facebook and Instagram and hold them accountable as publishers as it “appears that this just keeps going down the line.” 

“It shouldn’t,” Psaki said. “And the president thinks that one of these platforms has too much power, one of these platforms could do certainly much more to address all of these things you have referenced. 

“I mean, as a mother of a young girl, it makes me absolutely outraged that you’ve seen the Instagram — the reports about Instagram affecting girls’ mental health. That is outrageous.”  

Instagram
Psaki said it is outrageous that Instagram knows its app negatively impacts young girls but hasn’t done anything about it.
REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Psaki then shifted attention to misinformation, accusing Big Tech of having data on how harmful or misleading posts are traveling on the internet but not sharing it or acting upon it. 

“We know what people are getting misinformation on the internet that is preventing them or prompting them not to get a vaccine,” she said.

“Will there be action on this?” co-host Mika Brzezinski asked.

“We’ll have to see, there has to be appetite in Congress, there has to be a desire to get things done and change,” the press secretary said. “But certainly elevating these issues, as a number of reporters have, as you have, as we tried to, is also important.” 

Psaki did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

Her further push for censorship comes months after Psaki announced the Biden administration’s plan to identify “problematic” posts for Facebook to censor because they contain “misinformation” about COVID-19.

Psaki disclosed the government’s role in policing social media in July after Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called on companies to purge more pandemic posts.

“We are in regular touch with the social media platforms and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff and also members of our COVID-19 team — given as Dr. Murthy conveyed, this is a big issue, of misinformation, specifically on the pandemic,” the press secretary said.

“We’ve increased disinformation research and tracking within the Surgeon General’s Office. We are flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation,” she continued.

Psaki added, “It’s important to take faster action against harmful posts … and Facebook needs to move more quickly to remove harmful violative posts.”

This year, social media platforms have come under fire for censoring other posts before backtracking — notably including Facebook and Twitter censoring The Post’s reporting in October on documents from a laptop formerly belonging to President Biden’s son Hunter Biden that appeared to link his father to business pursuits in China and Ukraine.

Former President Donald Trump has filed lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, arguing that they are illegally squelching free speech rights on behalf of the government. Trump was banned from the platforms after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

“These companies have been co-opted, coerced and weaponized by government actors to become the enforcers of illegal, unconstitutional censorship,” Trump said.

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